CABHI Gathers Real-time Insights from Older Adults Living under COVID-19

Latinx senior man working at home office with laptop computer.

As part of our wider efforts to address the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the older adult population and the organizations and communities who serve it, the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI) has begun holding focus group discussions with older adults since March 2020. The five focus groups have gathered voices from more than 30 resources to learn about the diverse perspectives of older adults, caregivers, organizations, communities, and system partners, all of whom have felt COVID-19’s impact acutely and uniquely.

These discussions represent one strand of CABHI’s broader, ongoing strategy – to enhance the innovation ecosystem so that it can respond better and faster to the needs of older adults and their caregivers, communities, and organizations.

COVID-19 has rendered this task more urgent than ever, so we want to start assessing and sharing some of the insights we’ve gleaned. Though these challenges are evolving and ongoing, we have identified six high-level COVID-19 challenges that innovators can benefit from knowing now, when developing targeted solutions:

  1. Social isolation + risks to cognitive, mental & physical health
  2. Access to care, supports & care coordination
  3. Misinformation + infection prevention & control
  4. Ageism
  5. Internet access & tech literacy
  6. Basic needs for daily living

We are excited by several CABHI-supported companies’ responses to COVID-19 already:

  • Careteam, whose care-coordination platform links patients to their care teams, has begun to triage COVID-19-related cases and provide tailored information, remote check-ins, and follow-ups.
  • LinkedSenior has been offering 90-day free trials to care homes during COVID-19 to help manage resident engagement remotely.
  • Cubigo, a Baycrest-supported company that digitizes older adults’ self-scheduling in retirement living, just released in early June a contactless guest registration module for retirement communities.
  • Memotext is currently working with key stakeholders to develop a clinical-grade COVID-19 digital response tool.
  • X2AI, whose digital health companion decreases social isolation in older adults, has seen downloads increase during COVID-19, for people accessing stress management.

Many of the challenges seen in our discussions thus far reveal a spectrum of needs that predate the pandemic. That suggests that today’s solutions will remain relevant long after this crisis passes. With that in mind, CABHI’s next steps are to:

  • Guide innovators to respond and/or pivot their existing solutions fast
  • Engage with older adults actively as end-users and co-designers
  • Inform and inspire others in the aging and innovation space to develop coordinated responses that avoid redundancy and amplify impact

Do you have an idea for a solution? Get in touch with us today at and let’s talk!